I hope everyone is enjoying the summer – I know I sure am!  We just celebrated the 4th of July which means summer is about halfway over.  Now, I’m telling you this not to stress you out, but I want you to begin to prepare yourself.  Next year you will be seniors in high school, the top dogs, the ones everyone looks up to.  But it also means you will be in college the year after that (yes, you are all going to college, the only question left to answer is which one you will be attending).   How many of you know what type of students colleges are looking for?  There are millions of high school seniors in this country, so how will schools separate the best from the rest?  I’ll let you know a little secret; we will do it using three simple letters – A C T.

There are millions of high school seniors in this country, some attend small high schools, some attend medium-sized schools, and some attend very large high schools.  They come from different areas, they have different experiences, and they have all taken different classes.  But there is one thing that they all have in common, if they want to go to college, they will have to take the ACT.  And since every senior has to take this test, it’s what colleges will use to differentiate between them.  For most schools, when they look at your application, they will look at your ACT score before they look at your name.  The test is that important. The higher you score on the test, the higher the probability that you will be able to attend the school of your choice.  Also, the higher you score on the ACT, the more scholarship dollars you can qualify for.  So, if the ACT is so important, what do you need to do to make sure you score as high as you possibly can?  Have you ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect”?

The ACT is a standardized test; it’s the same test every time you take it.  I do not mean that the questions are the same, but it’s the same type of questions.  There are four sections on the ACT:  Math, English, Science & Reading.  When I first took the ACT in 1997 (no jokes!), those were the same four sections.  When my parents took the ACT, it was the same four sections.  It doesn’t change, which makes it very easy to prepare for since you already know the types of questions that will be on the test.  You just have to prepare for the questions.  You can do this by purchasing an ACT prep booklet and working your way through it.  Complete the exercises, take the practice test.  The more experience you have with the questions, the higher the probability you will find the correct answer.

Finally, I suggest that you take the test early and often.  You can practice all you want, but until you actually experience the test on test day, you do not know how you will perform.  Study upon study has shown that the students who take the ACT early and often statistically score higher than students who just take the ACT once or twice.  So take the text multiple times.  And between exam dates, continue practicing. Every time you take the test, you are given your results and these results are broken down by section so you can see how well you performed section by section.  Work on your weak section. If you didn’t score as high as you hoped on the reading section, before you take the test again, try to focus on the reading section. The extra work will pay off.  The next time you take the test, the score on your reading section will probably improve.  Remember, when it comes to the ACT, practice makes perfect.  It’s just like learning to ride a bike. The first time you rode it, you probably did not do so well, but the more you practiced, the more you rode your bike, the better you got.  The ACT is the same way, the first time you take it, you might not do so well; however, the more you prepare and the more you practice, the better you will do.  THIS I GUARANTEE!!!

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